Tales of unexplained phenomenon and magical witches and warriors win 2018 Blue Peter Book Awards

Published on: 01 March 2018

Real-Life Mysteries and Wizards of Once take the top spots for Best Story and Best Book with Facts prize, voted for by over 500 children.

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell and Real-Life Mysteries written by Susan Martineau, illustrated by Vicky Barker, have been revealed as this year’s Blue Peter Book Award winners.

Managed by BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, the immensely popular Blue Peter Book Awards honour amazing authors, imaginative illustrators and the best books for children, published in the last 12 months.

The winning titles were voted for by over 500 children from 12 schools across the UK. 

Tonight, the winners will appear on a special World Book Day edition of Blue Peter, the UK's longest-running children's programme, at 5.30pm GMT. Pupils from one of the judging schools, Church Vale Primary, will also be there. 

More about the Blue Peter Book Awards

The Wizards of Once: a thrilling tale

Cowell’s latest book, chosen by children across the UK for the Best Story prize, tells the tale of Xar and Wish, a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.

Discussing the award, Cressida said:

'I am delighted, grateful and proud to have won this year’s Blue Peter Award for The Wizards of Once. Blue Peter was a huge part of my childhood, and I’m thrilled as nine-year-old me, as well as the grown-up author.
'The Wizards of Once was five years of research, writing, rewriting and illustrating, and it’s nerve-wracking publishing a book set in a new world, so I’m especially gratified to receive this recognition...
To Blue Peter viewers who enjoy reading, telling stories and drawing – keep going! We need you to be the writers and illustrators of the future.'

Read our book review

Real-Life Mysteries: for budding investigators

Real-Life Mysteries is all about mysterious unsolved cases, backed up with evidence, and encourages you to make up your own mind: readers look at case files from Shackleton's ghostly companion to the Loch Ness Monster.

Author Susan Martineau said:

'I’m so thrilled that it was the Blue Peter viewers themselves who voted for the book. Blue Peter was not only my favourite programme when I was young, but my children’s too.
'It’s also so brilliant there is an award for a book with facts, as well as a fiction prize. Non-fiction doesn’t just tell you stuff, it can fire your imagination and get you thinking in new ways too.'

Illustrator Vicky Barker said:

'I am absolutely over the moon to have won the Blue Peter Book Award! I was a huge fan of Blue Peter as a child, so this is such a fantastic honour. Thank you to all of the budding new investigators that chose Real-Life Mysteries!'

Read our book review

Children do the judging

Jo Law is a Literacy Coordinator at one of the schools that helped to pick the winners (Church Vale). She told us

'It has been a huge honour for our children to be selected as part of the judging panel and to represent the voice of children across the country. It has been a challenge and a task that the children and I have taken very seriously. They have embraced every part of the job as judges and have enjoyed reading the books as part of a team during a weekly book club; they have been buzzing with conversation. 
'Their reading stamina has improved greatly and their commitment and enthusiasm towards reading has been amazing – we are very proud of them all.'

Judith Kerr to get Blue Peter badge

On top of all this excitement, Judith Kerr will also appear on Blue Peter, on Thursday 1 March, to get an extra special Gold Blue Peter badge for her contribution to children’s literature. 

The much-loved author and illustrator Judith Kerr was honoured with a BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. 

Judith Kerr said:

'What a wonderful surprise... My daughter received a Blue Peter badge many years ago, so I’m one up on her with my Gold one!'

Download the full press release (PDF)

Blue Peter Book Awards

Great reads for children

A prize that has been recognising and celebrating the best authors and illustrators for children since 2000.

New books we love

Our favourite reads of the month

We review lots of new books every month, and here's where you can find the ones we liked best of all.


Win great prizes

Cross your fingers and try your luck in our competitions, giving you the chance to win book bundles and other brilliant prizes.